No matter how genuinely interesting or original a piece of clothing, music, art or writing is, your success is capped – both monetarily and in terms of reach – unless someone further up the social food chain can profit from it. Part of the reason why this problem still prevails is that we are obsessed with acceptance; people who have been left on the outside naturally crave to be let in, and it’s difficult to trust in the power of our own ideas when they have been diminished for so long.
Now, it’s easier than ever to access alternative ideas – and it’s also far easier to get away with packaging yourself as subversive when you aren’t, as social media seemingly flattens social divides and places us all on the same platform. Where we apply trickle-up theory, we are, more often https://datingreviewer.net/nl/maiotaku-overzicht/ than not, actually referring to a fetishisation of youth culture, regardless of social class. We look to teenagers and young adults to dictate trends and taste on a micro-level online, taking them at face value. Influencers and cultural pioneers are often guilty of presenting as poor online, in a bid to be relatable to their audiences, when in actuality their lives more closely resemble royalty than roughing it.
Trying to cosplay as someone who had money always had me feeling as though I was running to catch up with those around me; it was exhausting, unfulfilling and futile. I’ve never enjoyed the idea of having less stuff. By unashamedly embracing the things I had previously felt embarrassed at finding joy in, I live a happier life. My floor is covered in a sprawling zebra-print rug, next to a plush pink velvet headboard that frames multiple prints and works of art that bring me peace when I feel most cut off from the world. Through my zine, I found other people who felt the same way as me and had grown up under similar circumstances. I learnt that my interest in the bright, the garish, the girlie and the gruesome wasn’t devoid of merit, thought or feeling.
Using the pope of trash himself, John Waters, as my guide, I became confident in my belief that trying to appeal to everyone – or even those in closest proximity to you – isn’t as important as finding people who truly understand why seemingly meaningless objects, aesthetics, films, bands or clothes can help build the emotional basis of who you are. Most importantly, I began to understand that our concept of what is good and what is bad was created by people I have absolutely no interest in trying to impress.
The taste hierarchy is nothing more than a well-crafted lie, maintained to help the same narrow group of people cling on to power with their cold dead hands. By smashing it to pieces, a brighter world full of gloriously garish taste is possible.
But in London, instead of finding people who embraced the subjectivity and complexity of taste in the way I understood it, I realised that most people who gravitated towards the creative industries I aspired to be a part of did so as a way to uphold a code of taste that keeps people out, rather than welcoming them in. Their ‘good’ taste isn’t acquired through years of experiences that helped them develop a sense of who they are, but is rather passed down to them from family members who have always had access to the finer things in life.
My once proud confidence in my own taste is chipped away at each time I am put in a room full of people in designer dresses with perfectly blow-dried hair. I’ll forget every impressive thing I’ve ever done, and how good I felt I looked before I left the house. I’ll feel unkempt no matter how put together I am, and inadequate no matter how much I know, deep down, that I deserve to be there.
“Influencers and cultural pioneers are often guilty of presenting as poor online, in a bid to be relatable to their audiences, when in actuality their lives more closely resemble royalty than roughing it”
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